PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -- On the first night federal troops were not seen on the streets of Portland, the community saw a noticeable difference in how things played out during protests.
Governor Kate Brown said on Friday that Oregonians were able to speak out peacefully on Thursday night, without the presence of federal officers.
"Last night the world was watching Portland. And here's what they saw: federal troops left downtown, local officials protected free speech and Oregonians spoke out for racial justice and police accountability, through peaceful non-violent protest," Brown said.
Brown said President Donald Trump's decision to send in federal troops to Portland was a political stunt, and it backfired.
"When I spoke to the vice president and negotiated the agreement for our federal troops to leave, I made it very, very clear, in Oregon we protect free speech. We respect the right to raise your voice and to make change. And we expect the public, all of us to practice non-violence when we take to the streets," Brown said.
Brown said now that federal troops are going home, Oregonians have the opportunity to make real lasting change to take up the Black Lives Matter movement and focus on racial equity here in Oregon.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf also weighed in on Thursday night's peaceful protests.
"What we saw overnight is almost little to no criminal activity and that really is how it should be," Wolf said. "This is what we've been asking for, for over 60 days and I'm glad Oregon and Portland has finally stepped up to the challenge."
In a tweet, Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell thanked protesters saying: "Thank you to all those who demonstrated peacefully last night as well as those who interceded to stop any attempts to light fires or throw projectiles. It’s time to move forward and make transformative changes."
Oregon State Police issued this statement: "The Oregon State Police Troopers assigned to support downtown Portland are very grateful to the community leaders that orchestrated a peaceful evening. OSP is strongly committed to supporting peaceful efforts and will remain in the city for our fellow Oregonians."
While city and state leaders say this is a positive step in the right direction, organizations like the Western States Center say the work isn't finished yet.
Executive Director Eric Ward says this moment calls for new policies that prevent further abuse of power and misuse of federal officers.
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